9 Wins From The Cleveland Browns’ Modern Sponsorship Strategy

browns wins

The pandemic brought about unprecedented challenges for sports organizations across the globe. In response, sports organizations cultivated creativity and applied strategies that have, in many ways, transformed the framework of modern sponsorships.

As properties began to navigate their way through the pandemic, they saw a rapid acceleration of several trends around sponsorships and technology. Whether that involved creating new digital options to reach fans, providing in-depth fulfillment reporting after every game, or diving deeper into the data to align activations with target audiences further, the intersection of technology and partnerships reached new levels in 2020.

Embracing these trends, the Cleveland Browns successfully adapted its approach to meet the market’s needs while also finding new ways for the organization to engage its fans, grow its sales, activate its partnerships, and measure the performance.

How are they doing it? Vanessa Bryan, manager of partnership activation, and Mark Smith, director of sales and marketing systems, shared nine strategies the Browns are using with Sponsorship Central to modernize their partnerships and allow the Cleveland Browns to have continued success, despite obstacles presented by the pandemic.

Grow Partnership Sales

1. Using a CRM built for sports.

While there are many CRM options available, there is only one designed specifically for the sports industry. Performing every task from sales prospecting to fulfillment reporting in one platform is simple, seamless, and follows a workflow customized by the Cleveland Browns.

2. Proper training and communication with internal teams to foster buy-in and adoption.

After communicating the benefits and efficiencies of Sponsorship Central, Vanessa and Mark could secure buy-in throughout the team and garner support from cross-departmental team members to ensure adoption. From there, put training in place, and the team could quickly make the most of their investment.

3. Using historical data to attract sales prospects.

Before brands and sponsors commit, they are highly responsive to historical data to demonstrate the potential return on a partnership. The Browns can use figures from previous activations via Sponsorship Central to give a clearer picture of success likelihood, which helped get prospects over the finish line.

Activate Your Partnerships

4. Ditching spreadsheets and investing in an end-to-end management system.

Once assets are sold in Discovery CRM, they are seamlessly integrated into Trak’s fulfillment platform, where you can view the status of each on a simple, user-friendly home page. With all data in one location (and no longer housed in various spreadsheets), the Browns can free up countless hours performing tasks and allocate that time to pursuing and securing other opportunities.

5. Uncovering and sharing valuable data with partners.

The time required to create recap results and find the data points of impact is near real-time through the integrated system. Teams can access a single source for data rather than multiple disparate data sources, which gives the Browns the ability to pivot or adapt their strategy quickly to maximize revenue effectively.

6. Building a wider range of digital marketing opportunities.

The Browns are seeing the digital space grow daily and become increasingly more crowded. During the pandemic, the Browns created a host of new digital programming, and a majority of these programs will continue in 2021. By analyzing psychographic data for the fan base and matchings sponsors accordingly, the Browns can offer digital, social, and e-commerce opportunities for partners that create an authentic connection between brands and fans. This approach allows organizations to create the digital version of what fans have been experiencing in real life and allows partners to receive data in real-time regarding performance success.

Measure Your Performance

7. Ongoing evaluation and adjustment of fulfillment assets to ensure objectives are met.

The process of monitoring, measuring, communicating, and reporting with partners is time-intensive and vital to success. Rather than waiting until the end of the season, properties and partners can look at the data in real-time and see where activations have room for growth. This will allow the Browns to tweak activation assets to better align to partner goals quickly while the season is in process, which will keep partners happy and more likely to commit long-term.

8. Automating tasks to allow for “bigger picture” strategic focus.

Through data collection and automation, the Browns aim to cut out 50% of their working time, allowing them to spend more time delivering unprecedented service to partners. Sponsors also have full transparency into the partnership’s success through their own login that allows them to view assets, monitor performance, and track completion.

9. Offering real-time reporting on activation and fulfillment to partners.

According to an IEG Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey, the most valuable property-provided services are assistance in measuring ROI/ROO and post-event reporting/fulfillment audit. These services rank significantly higher than anything else and are the top two year over year. Sponsorship Central allows properties to provide post-event reports, fulfillment audits, and performance metrics in seconds as often as needed, whether it’s every month, every week, or after every game.


About Sponsorship Central

Sponsorship Central is a collaborative solution between SSB’s Discovery CRM and Trak’s sponsorship fulfillment software that simplifies every step of the partnership lifecycle – from sales to activation – to maximize ROI with real-time measurability and reporting. Over 150 professional sports organizations trust SSB and Trak and their respective solutions.

To learn more about how Sponsorship Central can help your organization achieve success, request a demo to see it in action.

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